Red Cedar Trail is a 12 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Makanda, Illinois that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,269 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Directions From the north: Take Interstate 57 South to the Route 13 exit (Carbondale - Exit #54B), head west (right) on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park. From the south: Follow I-24 to I-57 North, or stay on I-57, to the Rt. 148 exit (Exit #45), head northwest on 148 for approximately 2 miles. Turn left on Grassy Road. There is a convenience store on this corner. Follow Grassy Road for 5-7 miles. Stay left when you come to a Y. Continue southwest on Grassy Road. Grassy Road will come to a T at Giant City Road. Turn south (left) on Giant City Road. Continue approximately 4 miles to the park. From the east: Head west on I-70 or, if you are further south, take I-64 to I-57 South. Continue approximately 50 miles south from I-64 to the Route 13 exit (Marion - Exit #54B), head west on Rt. 13 toward Carbondale, go approximately 15 miles. Look for Wal-Mart on your right. Turn left at this light (Giant City Road). Continue 12 miles to the south. Giant City Road will lead you into the park. From the west: Head east on I-64 approximately 50 miles from St. Louis. Take the Rt. 127 (Nashville) exit south. Continue south for approximately 50 miles to Murphysboro. At Murphysboro, go left or east for approximately 10 miles. You will pass through the town of Carbondale. Watch for the mall on your right. When you see Wal-Mart on your left, this is your light. Take a right here on Giant City Road heading south for 12 miles into the park.

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked it on 3.4.20. It was soggy in some places. Well marked, it’s way easier to do this in winter, you can see the blazes and no bugs. We went counterclockwise from GC campground, just past the Red Cedar campground you do have to go thru ankle deep swamp for about 20 yards. It is 12 miles, not sure why All Trails says 10.7. There’s a great waterfall around the 9 mile mark, look for the plain white diamond blazes.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

We started at the campground trailhead then turned on to the Riverto River trail until it met back up with the Red Cedar. Then when the 2 split off again on the west side there was also a horse trail that cut off the northwest portion of the Red Cedar making this trail shorter than the 12+ miles it ends up being. There were plenty of pretty creek crossings and large rocks/bluffs to look at along the way. The horse trail is only marked with wooden horse symbols. The rest of the trail was pretty well marked. We crossed several roads in the park so if one needed to leave the trail early you could. I recommend it

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail. 11.2 miles. I made it in 3 hours 48 mins with only 1 short break. Easy to follow most of the time but I did get off trail once and had to use my phone.

hiking
blowdown
rocky
washed out
5 months ago

Hiked the trail over two days this week, found it to be marked well and in excellent condition. Expert advice from Jennifer at the visitors center was very helpful in making the hike more enjoyable. Will definitely hike this again. (Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: 11.5 miles, 1750 ft ascents,, AllTrails: 13.9 miles, 1394 ft ascents) {?! take your pick}

hiking
flooded
6 months ago

I backpacked it with my boyfriend on Black Friday. The hike to the site was very nice and well marked. Camp site is cute! Portable bathroom, picnic tables, and fire pits! Very nice for a rustic backpacking site. It rained heavily that night. The next day, we had to cross quite a few deep and fast streams (or what used to be a stream). The water came up to our chest! Haha. It’s a great hike if you want a little taste of backpacking and an adventure. I enjoyed it and will do it again!

hiking
6 months ago

very excellent trail in November.

recorded Red Cedar Trail

hiking
6 months ago

11/03/19 55F, Sunny Only hiked 1.3mi in & then turned back. Trail in good condition. No issues.

recorded Red Cedar Trail

hiking
bugs
over grown
scramble
9 months ago

Some inclines, lots of shade. not trimmed very well so rough time getting through the narrow trail. Had to turn back.

hiking
9 months ago

There was a group of 5 of us that hiked this trail yesterday. Overall I'd say the trail is in good condition. I would definitely hike it again! However according to my wife's Fitbit this trail is more like 15 miles! Which I believe cause we were clipping right along! And I can figure about 3 miles per hour when I hike. It took us 5 hours! But yes great trail to work on distance and varied terrain.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
off trail
rocky
11 months ago

Great hike that clocks in at more like 12 miles. It offers a lot with lots of water features, rock areas to navigate through, dense growth and spread out trees. The only thing keeping this from being a 5 star is the marking of the trail in the middle 4 miles or so. Several times I lost the trail and due to fallen marked trees or no trail markers it was difficult to get back on the trail. Going counter clockwise I made it across Shiloh road and to the creek and completely lost the trail having to back out and hit the roads to get back to camp. The next morning I started from the trailhead and traveled clockwise to be able to complete the entire trail and found that where I had been the day prior and turned around was about 15 feet away from where the trail continued but due to a washed away area and no trail marking for 50 feet or so into the woods I could not see it. So if you make it across Shiloh Road and to the creek, walk 15 feet to your right and cross the creek and climb the washed out hill to find the trail.... and who knows maybe you will even see my armadillo buddy waiting there for you! Oh yeah, get some bug spray with Hella-Deet in it because my buddy used the normal crap and had 20-30 ticks and I had nothing.

hiking
Sat Apr 06 2019

Nice trail. Hiked a little under seven miles to the camp ground. Only people there was our group which was nice. Stormed on us Saturday night but survived and remains dry. Returned Sunday with just under 12 miles on GPS. There were high bluffs and with the controlled burn and winter landscape the views were forever. Some challenging inclines and declines. Two waterfalls if it had rained prior to it would have been running. A few fallen trees to crawl over and under. Cross about two or three roads. All in all nice trial with plenty of water sources. Wish I had thought about turning my app on earlier to get a better measure of distance but was to busy landscape dazing, lol

hiking
muddy
off trail
over grown
Sun Feb 24 2019

Lots of fun. Super muddy and slightly overgrown. Definitely watch out for the thorn bushes everywhere. But still a good time

hiking
muddy
off trail
washed out
Thu Feb 21 2019

Pros: great scenery and great for people who really love nature Cons: this is a DIFFICULT trail. The red diamond are hard to see and it’s very easy to get lost. There are parts where the trail is blocked as well as parts where you actually have to walk through the water with no way around. I wouldn’t recommend this trail if you are not experienced

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
Sun Feb 03 2019

My spouse and I explored this trail 2/2/19 had a perfect 55 degree day for a long hike in middle of winter. We really enjoyed the first half of the trail despite being so close to the main roads and crossing them 6x before we got deep in the woods. If your a sightseer and like taking photos I wouldn't recommend this trail as it only features a creek and a couple small waterfalls. Had no issues with markers like many of the other reviews. Just have to pay attention to your surroundings. We completed in just under 8hours including stops. "TRAIL LENGTH IS ACCTUALLY 12MILES"

hiking
over grown
Mon Jan 28 2019

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